Chaotic scenes in quake-hit Indonesia as bodies lie unclaimed

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According to national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, rescuers are now concentrating on Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Muntong with more than 800 confirmed as critically injured.

The Indonesian government on Tuesday said the death toll from a devastating quake-tsunami on the island of Sulawesi had risen to 1,234 people, up from the previous count of 844.

Australia has given $500,000 to help victims of Indonesia's devastating natural disaster and tsunami on the central Sulawesi island and more support is on its way.

With communications down and access by land disrupted, rescuers were struggling to reach communities closer to the epicenter of the 7.5 magnitude quake that struck on Friday, triggering tsunami waves as high as six meters (20 feet). With supplies dwindling, administrator Kasman Lassa said citizens were taking food and other essential items from shops.

The magnitude 7.5 quake struck at dusk Friday and generated a tsunami said to have been as high as 6 meters in places. Many survivors were blocking trucks carrying aid to help themselves to the contents as they said they had gone hungry and thirsty for days. We are scaling up our response to reach 500,000 people with essential aid supplies like ready-to-eat food, water purification kits, and shelter packs. Many people were trapped and buried under collapsed houses. "So, on this issue, we can not pressure them to hold much longer".

While most of the deceased have been found in Palu, home to more than 380,000 people, there are fears thousands more could be dead in areas rescuers have yet to access.

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( Reuters ) A woman cries as she waits to be evacuated by military aircraft at Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

In the hills above Palu, volunteers are working to dig a mass grave, big enough for thousands of bodies, according to the BBC.

The Palu airport was reopened to commercial flights on Sunday, but humanitarian aid flights will be given priority, according to the authorities.

The Indonesian government on Monday appealed for global aid to deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

The European Union, the U.S. and China are among more than 10 countries who have offered assistance.